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Tim Fonk: Forms & Feathers Exhibition

Date: July 11 - September 29, 2019


Cedarburg Art Museum
W63N675 Washington Ave.

The public is invited to the opening reception of “Tim Fonk: Forms & Feathers” at the Cedarburg Art Museum Thursday, July 11, 5:30-7:30pm. Presented in this solo exhibition are wall masks and a selection of avian studies on paper alongside the wood and steel sculptures they inspired. Shape and line are leading forces.

Tim Fonk (b. 1945) makes art “because not making art would be worse.” He attended Layton School of Art from 1964 to 1968 where he focused on metal sculpture by means of lost wax casting and welding. In his mid-forties his career as a commercial welder superseded his artistic practice until he retired in 2008. He has been represented by DeLind Gallery in Milwaukee and through Linda Sanduski. 

Fonk works his art into his surroundings. His home that he and his wife, Sharon, built with two professional builders, is filled with furniture that he built with bitternut hickory from his property, twenty-five miles north of Cedarburg. He was trying to get rid of the raw lumber, but after some time passed and no one took it, he started using it, marking his return to sculpting.

Fonk is partially color blind in discerning browns and greens and seeing variations in values. He relies on his wife to verify colors and understand how others would see the colors in his works. He uses pencil, colored pencil, watercolor, and acrylic on paper to design his sculptural works. To achieve the vibrant, crisp colors on his sculptures, Fonk uses Montana brand graffiti spray paint from Germany, applying it only outdoors, in the wind, with a fan blowing, while wearing a respirator.

Fonk is not easily attached to his creations. It’s all or nothing. He has made about twenty-five wall masks, but only a few exist after fifty years of reworking. He destroyed the rest. The same goes for his sculptures. He is quick to cast away sculptures that feel incomplete or aren’t fulfilling a certain dimension he desires. His existing works, the ones he is willing to share with the world, sometimes take years to finish and embody perfectionism. To skirt around precision he states, “I always figure anything I am doing is the last thing I’m going to do, then quickly start something else so that’s the last thing I’m going to do.”

“Tim Fonk: Forms & Feathers” is supported by the Wisconsin Arts Board and Bella Lei Salon Spa and Boutique of Cedarburg. 

The Cedarburg Art Museum is located at W63N675 Washington Avenue. Gallery hours are Wednesday through Saturday 10am to 4pm and Sunday noon to 4pm.  For more information, go to cedarburgartmuseum.org or call 262-377-6123.